Current Archaeology 372

2 mins read

Fifteen thousand years ago, nomadic hunter-gatherers set up camp at Les Varines, Jersey. Their existence was no hand-tomouth search for subsistence, though: they also had time to engrave enigmatic patterns on fragments of stone. Our cover story explores recent analysis of these fascinating finds, hailed as the earliest art yet identified in the British Isles.

Prehistoric pioneers also feature in our article exploring evidence for Neanderthals in Britain. What can modern archaeological research and scientific advances tell us about their lives and experiences within these shores?

Neanderthals left fewer archaeological footprints in Britain than on the Continent, and elusive clues form the focus of our next feature, too. Keith Marischal, East Lothian, is an imposing baronial house – but one whose appearance is largely the result of relatively recent remodelling. How far is it possible to reconstruct its 16th- and 17th-century glory?

This latter period also witnessed the beginnings of Britain as a major sea power, heralding prosperity and exploration, but also the exploitation of enslaved peoples. We survey evidence from shipwrecks and standing remains to reflect on Britain’s colonial past.

Our last feature delves into domestic gardens, where many of us have been spending much more time during lockdown. Have you uncovered anything while digging at home? Some of the garden discoveries recently announced by the Portable Antiquities Scheme, including a Tudor hoard, have been spellbinding, as we explore this month.

In This Issue:



Tracing evidence for our closest hominin relatives in Britain
What can excavated finds and archaeological science tell us about the Neanderthal populations that occupied Britain during the Middle Palaeolithic?


Exploring the British Isles’ earliest art at Les Varines, Jersey
Ten fragments of decorated stone from Jersey could represent the earliest-known artworks identified in the British Isles. How were they made and what light can they shed on the hunter-gatherer community that created them?


Searching for a lost castle and Renaissance palace
The grand baronial residence of Keith Marischal, East Lothian, was dramatically remodelled in the 19th and early 20th centuries. How far is it possible to reconstruct its 16th- and 17th-century glory?


Reflections of Britain’s colonial past
What can excavation of shipwrecks add to our understanding of Britain’s involvement in the Transatlantic slave trade and the colonial period?


How lockdown gardening led to a host of new discoveries
During lockdown, many of us took to our gardens, prompting a flurry of archaeological finds. The Portable Antiquities Scheme has unveiled some of the most significant garden discoveries, including a Tudor hoard.


Bronze Age monument uncovered in the New Forest; Unusual burial discovered in Leith; Great Pyramid artefact found in Aberdeen; Caistor Roman Project gets a boost; Evidence of Roman reprisals in Essex?; Science Notes; Reviving Ousdale Broch; Finds Tray


Joe Flatman excavates the CA archive

Mare nostrum: Old Basing, Hampshire

Sheffield Castle: archaeology, archives, regeneration, 1927-2018; Classical Caledonia: Roman history and myth in 18th-century Scotland; Leprosy: past and present; Burying the Dead: an archaeological history of burial grounds, graveyards, and cemeteries; 50 Finds of Roman Coinage; The First Kingdom: Britain in the Age of Arthur

Heritage from Home
A selection of resources to help you get involved in archaeology-themed activities from home during lockdown

The latest details about Current Archaeology Live! 2021

Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues

Odd Socs
The Fairground Heritage Trust

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